Today European budget airline easyJet has announced the decision to ground the majority of its fleet. While announced today, the groundings will take place from Tuesday 24 March and onwards. Notable exceptions to aircraft groundings include repatriation flights, of which easyJet has several. Ryanair made a similar announcement two days ago.
90% of fleet grounded
According to the airline’s press release, there will only be a maximum of 10% of normal capacity during this time of year. The airline goes on to specify that these will mainly be routes “to, from and within the UK.”
As the airline has a whopping 318 Airbus A320 family aircraft in its fleet, this could mean as many as 290 aircraft grounded. Details on storage have yet to be released.
This massive grounding is, of course, due to the coronavirus pandemic which has seen a large drop in traveler demand caused by travel restrictions imposed by countries all over the world.
“These are unprecedented times for the airline industry. We know how important it is for customers to get home and so are continuing to operate rescue flights over the coming days to repatriate them. Significantly reducing our flying programme is the right thing to do when many countries have issued advice to their citizens not to travel unless it is essential and the aircraft groundings will also remove significant levels of variable costs at a time when this remains crucial.” -Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet CEO
Repatriation flights scheduled
The airline has a respectable list of repatriation flights scheduled for UK and EU nationals looking to return home before their scheduled flights. The airline says that it will continue to operate these rescue flights as required to repatriate customers. It anticipates most of its rescue operations to be completed by Monday 23 March.
Destinations from which easyJet is collecting passengers include:
- Cyprus: Larnaca and Paphos
- Egypt: Hurghada
- Morocco: Agadir, Marrakech, Tangier
- Portugal: Funchal
- Spain has the most repatriation flights, which will operate from the following locations:
- Gran Canaria
- Palma de Mallorca
- La Palma
- Santiago de Compostela
Most flights are taking travelers to Bristol, London (Gatwick) and Basel as well several more to cities like Amsterdam, Berlin and more. The full list along with specific dates can be found on their website.
What to do if you have an easyJet flight booked
easyJet says that passengers should be able to book themselves onto one of the flights listed on their website. To do this, they will need to visit Manage Bookings on easyJet.com or via the mobile app. Unfortunately, customers who didn’t book via easyJet.com or the Mobile App will need to directly contact their tour operator, travel agent or OTA.
easyJet is encouraging travelers who do not intend to travel, to change their tickets for free now. Doing this will allow the airline to best match its remaining operations to the demand. The airline continues to waive all change fees for customers who want to move their flight to a later date- they can now change up until 28 February 2021.
The airline also says that customers will be contacted directly if their flight is canceled and will be provided with their options.
Do you have a flight booked with easyJet? Let us know in the comments what you plan to do.